How To Evaluate Qualifications Of Software Developers – CoDev


December 1, 2018

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Finding the software developer that fits your needs can prove challenging. The good news is we have documented strategies we have found effective to ensure you are hiring the right person. Below are some of these strategies, and feel free to adopt or tweak them according to your specific needs.

Be focused and passionate about necessary skills

Remember you are looking for the software developer that best fits your business, not hiring the first likable qualified candidate that comes along. Stay focused on the reasons you are hiring a particular developer, and as much as possible, be objective in evaluating each applicant’s set of skills.

  1. Distinguish between the “must haves” and “nice to haves” throughout the screening process. List the developer skills your business absolutely needs and quantify the level of expertise required, and prioritize them over skills that may be helpful but not really critical. For instance, if you want to hire a Python developer, find candidates who have two years of programming in the Python language, rather than settling for basic knowledge of web frameworks or familiarity with client-side programming. While they might be “nice to haves” they do not have the skill set you’re looking for.
  2. Create a comprehensive job description. As always, completing this task will help you in being as objective as possible when screening candidates. If you want tips on how to write a good job description for a specific software developer position, please refer to this separate article.

Proper pre-screening practices

Be aware of recruiter burnout and interview fatigue. We find that as many as half the resumes you receive will not meet the qualifications you listed (no matter how specific you are). Having your “must have” skills in mind will allow you to quickly assess and pass on those who do not possess the minimum necessary skills.

A thorough job description will ensure you can quickly screen batches of candidates to identify your list for further screening. Focus on the following areas:

  1. Review CVs and application letters to ensure must-have skills are detailed. Make note of the tools used and that the depth of knowledge of the tools exists. If unsure or unclear, document your thoughts for future follow-up.
  2. Do background checks and verification. The best indicator of future performance is past performance.
  3. Make the initial phone call. The aim here is to establish a first connection, and perhaps set up an appointment for a proper interview.

Spotting performance indicators and red flags

You will receive resumes from applicants who are genuinely qualified, but you’ll also encounter bad candidates with seemingly perfect CVs. Follow these quick tips to spot the good ones:

  1. Look for developers with detailed and comprehensive CVs or LinkedIn profiles. These candidates are likely thorough and pay attention to detail, which are good qualities for a software developer.
  2. Check for experience in leadership roles. These applicants are likely to be results-driven, or at the very least, not afraid to be accountable.

Then follow these tips to spot the bad ones:

  1. Beware of discrepancies between the candidate’s resume and LinkedIn profile. Watch out for applicants whose CV includes a core competency that is not present in their LinkedIn profile.
  2. Watch out for vague or ambiguous descriptions of abilities. Phrases like “knowledge of” or “familiar with” in the list of core skills suggest they may have only cursory knowledge of the expertise you require.
  3. Beware of candidates with short tenures in past jobs. There may be legitimate reasons, and plan on probing to uncover negative commitment challenges.

Administer a coding test

A coding test can be an important part of the process of hiring developers. The best way to administer one is to prepare a test that will allow candidates to demonstrate their proficiency in a skill that you need.

After the test, if you can arrange for it, have the candidates explain in their own words how they went about tackling the coding test. From here, take note of which applicants can effectively communicate their ideas and solutions.

Take advantage of developer recruitment platforms

There are tools or services that come with features that allow you to evaluate, test, interview, and even hire software developers. Examples of evaluation and testing tools include:

  1. HackerRank
  2. CoderPad
  3. Codility
  4. CodeFights
  5. CoderByte

While these tools are typically not free, you may find the time you save by not preparing an assessment more than overcomes the cost of these tools.
Also, try using video interviewing software like:

  1. HireVue
  2. Spark Hire
  3. ConveyIQ

Partner with a developer recruitment specialist

Here at CoDev, we specialize in recruiting software developers, especially those possessing skills that perfectly complement our client’s businesses. We’ve been recruiting software developers since 2010 so we know how to look for candidates who are skilled, dependable, affordable, have good communication skills, and are eager to work for you immediately.

If you partner with us, we will handle most of the recruitment tasks for you, including the screening of candidates, the background checks, the scheduling of interviews, and more, based of course on the job description you provide. We believe in recruiting efficiently, meaning with less hassle on your part and without any delay.

We assure you that you will always have the final say in deciding which candidate to hire, but we want to help you make the best decision possible. Contact us now.



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